GUWAHATI, May 19 � At least 25 members of militant outfit National Democratic Front of Boroland (Songbijit), who were suspected to be involved in the killing of more than 40 people on May 1 and 2 in Kokrajhar and Baksa districts, have managed to sneak into Bhutan following sustained operations by the police and security forces.
Highly placed security sources told The Assam Tribune that the force level in the Bodoland Territorial Autonomous Districts (BTAD) areas is likely to come down after a few days and then the available forces would have to be mobilised properly to prevent any untoward situation.
Sources said that at present, as many as 181 companies of Central paramilitary forces along with additional columns of the Army are being deployed in the BTAD areas to prevent any untoward incident, and because of the presence of the forces, the killings of innocents did not flare up to ethnic violence. But this level of forces would not be kept in the area for a long time as there is every possibility of withdrawal of some forces, brought specially to deal with the situation following the killings.
Security sources said that according to information available, to launch the attacks in the BTAD areas, NDFB(S) cadres were drawn from the districts of Dhubri, Chirang, Barpeta and Kokrajhar. After the incidents, the cadres were asked to shift towards Bhutan in small groups to save themselves from the intensified operations by police and security forces. There have been inputs that the militants managed to set up makeshift camps in the jungles of Bhutan. However, sources asserted that it would not be possible for the militants to set up full-fledged camps in the neighbouring country as was the case before Operation All Clear, launched in 2003.
Meanwhile, security sources said that there is every possibility of change of leadership in the NDFB(S). Following the split in the Ranjan Daimary faction of the NDFB, an interim body headed by IK Songbijit was formed by the outfit. Recently, the security agencies came across an input which suggested that in the last national council meeting of the outfit, there were some talks of change of leadership as some of the senior members of the outfit are of the view that a Bodo person should head the outfit to increase its acceptability among the Bodo people.